Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Feb 2017 07:54 UTC
Google

I decided to dig through open source to examine the state of Google's upcoming Andromeda OS. For anyone unfamiliar, Andromeda seems to be the replacement for both Android and Chrome OS (cue endless debates over the semantics of that, and what it all entails). Fuchsia is the actual name of the operating system, while Magenta is the name of the kernel, or more correctly, the microkernel. Many of the architectural design decisions appear to have unsurprisingly been focused on creating a highly scalable platform.

It goes without saying that Google isn't trying to hide Fuchsia. People have clearly discovered that Google is replacing Android's Linux kernel. Still, I thought it would be interesting for people to get a better sense of what the OS actually is. This article is only intended to be an overview of the basics, as far as I can comment reasonably competently. (I certainly never took an operating systems class!)

What excites me the most about Fuchsia and related projects are the people involved. The pedigree here is astonishing - there are quite a few former Be, Palm, and Apple engineers involved. The linked article contains a good higher-level overview, and I do truly believe it's one of the most exciting projects in the operating systems world right now.

What remains to be seen, however, is this: just how serious is this project? The breadth of the project and the people involved seem to suggest this is indeed something quite serious, and all signs point towards it being a future unification and replacement for both Chrome OS and Android, which is quite exciting indeed.

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Once a myth starts spreading.
by oiaohm on Wed 15th Feb 2017 08:24 UTC
oiaohm
Member since:
2009-05-30

https://chromeunboxed.com/chrome-os-and-android-not-merging-sorry-an...

It was clearly stated direct by google that andromeda is a myth.

https://github.com/Andromeda-OS
Also does not help that a Mac OS clone is called that.

Reply Score: 0

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

https://chromeunboxed.com/chrome-os-and-android-not-merging-sorry-an...

It was clearly stated direct by google that andromeda is a myth.

https://github.com/Andromeda-OS
Also does not help that a Mac OS clone is called that.


This is not relevant, as this is indeed not a merger of Chrome OS and Android, but a new system entirely.

Reply Score: 4

The reality is the reality.
by oiaohm on Wed 15th Feb 2017 10:34 UTC
oiaohm
Member since:
2009-05-30

Andromeda OS as some form of google source code project has been declared non existent by many google staff. So if it not a OS what is it.

https://android.googlesource.com/platform/frameworks/base/+/master/t...

It all starts here read carefully. This is not talking about a different OS.

Andromeda devices require higher performance score.

So Andromeda is Android device designed for Media with optimisations for that role. So its just Android not another OS.


So Andromeda OS is someone reading a source code and making a wild guess and being completely wrong. It was a idea for a marketing tool.

Talking about Fuchsia would be real attempting to work out what that project is up-to.

Its the myth that fuchsia had two kernels.
https://github.com/fuchsia-mirror
Yep it only has one.

What google is building fuchsia for would be worth talking about.

I don't know what happened end of 2016 if there was ways for the media to jump the gun, miss read... They did it all.

So we need them to get back on topic and start looking at the real items not the errors.

Edited 2017-02-15 10:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: The reality is the reality.
by vapier on Mon 20th Feb 2017 20:16 UTC in reply to "The reality is the reality."
vapier Member since:
2011-12-07

So Andromeda OS is someone reading a source code and making a wild guess and being completely wrong. It was a idea for a marketing tool.


it was a thing, but isn't anymore. it wasn't fabricated.

it is a dead project though, so articles talking about its current progress are funny.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by henderson101
by henderson101 on Wed 15th Feb 2017 10:49 UTC
henderson101
Member since:
2006-05-30

Given the kinds of people involved, and that Travis has a history of creating his own OS projects, isn't it just possible this is a bit of fun for all of those involved? It's an outlet for their inner geek. A fantasy OS - what would we do if there was no legacy? That type of thing? We might dream of this scenario, but they are capable of creating results. Hey - this is just as likely as any other conspiracy theory.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by henderson101
by Flatland_Spider on Wed 15th Feb 2017 17:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by henderson101"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

It could very well be another 20% project from people at Google.

It's a nice dream thought. A Unixy OS with a microkernel that uses native code for it's applications. ;) All the promise of Sailfish without the baggage.

However, they really do need to do something about Android and ChromeOS being on different code bases, and they would control the kernel more then they can control the Linux kernel. Stable internal kernel ABI/API for drivers and syscalls that aren't exported as GPL only come to mind as two areas they would be interested in cleaning up. This would also be a good time to clean up the way they do development and move to a more open FOSS OS style of development.

Of course, this could be something totally different, and more of something to standardize Google's OS stack. Google makes a lot of hardware, and Linux isn't exactly built for extreme uptime. You know things like hotswapping kernels, live patching of libs, or self-healing services. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NonStop_(server_computers))

We'll have to see if it dies on the vine or six months after Google releases it.

Reply Score: 2

Google
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 15th Feb 2017 16:08 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, its Google though. So there might be an exciting project in the works. OK, if that is the case, is this going to have the full support of Google? They're kind of notorious for creating solutions and not really standing behind them. Just take a look at dart or ara, for example.

Reply Score: 3

No Linux
by birdie on Wed 15th Feb 2017 17:40 UTC
birdie
Member since:
2014-07-15

I'm really glad they are going away with the Linux kernel. We need something which is easy to maintain, which has a good set of stable APIs/ABIs, and which is more stable and error prone.

Besides the Linux kernel is monolithic, so every part of it can bring it down.

Reply Score: 3

RE: No Linux
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 15th Feb 2017 17:49 UTC in reply to "No Linux"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm really glad they are going away with the Linux kernel. We need something which is easy to maintain, which has a good set of stable APIs/ABIs, and which is more stable and error prone.


The Linux kernel is a substantial part of the Android update problem, so I'm not surprised Google is exploring options to leave it behind.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: No Linux
by tidux on Wed 15th Feb 2017 18:20 UTC in reply to "RE: No Linux"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

Eh, they could fix that tomorrow by mandating all device drivers be open source and upstreamed before a device gets official Google Play support. It's not a Linux problem, it's a proprietary software problem.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: No Linux
by kurkosdr on Wed 15th Feb 2017 20:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Linux"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

Eh, they could fix that tomorrow by mandating all device drivers be open source and upstreamed before a device gets official Google Play support. It's not a Linux problem, it's a proprietary software problem.


Haha, yeah sure. Google will damage relationships with their most important industry partners just to make your geek fantasy happen and for the vague promise that the community will maintain the drivers of the SoC vendors for free (never mind they didn't do it with Microsoft's contributions to the Linux kernel and left them to bit rot and eventually removed them), instead of Google working around the GPL as best they can.

Anyway, even if your geek fantasy came true, the SoC vendors would simply withhold the source code, cease providing new drivers and watch Google stay SoC-less and hence hardware-less or having to use the existing proprietary drivers, while giving Tizen newer SoCs and drivers that would drive headlines to the OS.

Most people treat SoC drivers as something that performs some dumb serialization, forgetting they represent a huge part of the R&D containing anything from OpenGL implementation, sound drivers, cleverly tuned WiFi algorithms and part of the wizardy that is the DSP. Even the presence of a competent OpenGL implementation is big enough reason to not open source. Unless your OpenGL implementation is crap and your company's name is Intel, you have no reason to open source it.

Edited 2017-02-15 20:31 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No Linux
by fithisux on Wed 15th Feb 2017 20:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Linux"
fithisux Member since:
2006-01-22

It is no fantasy. It is freedom unless you believe fascism can be excused for money.

Fantasy like this?

"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither."

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: No Linux
by kurkosdr on Wed 15th Feb 2017 20:39 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No Linux"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

It is no fantasy. It is freedom unless you believe fascism can be excused for money.

Fantasy like this?

"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither."

Godwin's law.

Also, tell me how receiving the source code of a piece of software is necessary to protect your freedom but receiving the source code of an FPGA implementation of the same functionality is not, my little freedom-fighter.

If you think receiving the source code of the FPGA implementation is necessary to protect your freedom too, explain why receiving the source code of the same functionality implemented on a chip isn't. Then do the same for same functionality implemented as wired-together NAND gates, then the same for functionality implemented using replays or even gears and electomechanical parts. When does access to the source code stop being a necessity to protect your freedom and how does it differ from the previous step? (when it comes to protecting your freedom) Explain.

Edited 2017-02-15 20:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: No Linux
by Brendan on Thu 16th Feb 2017 04:27 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No Linux"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

It is no fantasy. It is freedom unless you believe fascism can be excused for money.

Fantasy like this?

"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither."


Currently consumers are free to choose open source products (where nobody can be held accountable and any malicious attacker can easily obtain/modify the source to create a trojan) and are also free to choose proprietary products (where the manufacturer can be held accountable); and manufacturers are also free to provide open source and free to provide proprietary.

By insisting on open source you remove the ability to choose for both consumers and manufacturers; and destroy freedom.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: No Linux
by oiaohm on Thu 16th Feb 2017 07:43 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No Linux"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

Brendan just because attacker does not have the source code does not mean they cannot embed a trojan.
http://www.linuxsecurity.com/resource_files/documentation/virus-wri...

Note the term "parasitic file viruses" So attackers can modify closed source binaries and add their own code with or without source. Malicious attackers have all kinds of toolkits to modify closed source programs.

Question is how do you audit against this form of modification.

Choosing open source products also does not mean no one is accountable in all cases. You pay for your libreoffice from like Collabora yes it open source office suite but since you paid them they are accountable for quality control of the binary they provide if something is wrong with it they are accountable.

Basically with Open Source if you pay no one for it you get equal quality insurance of nothing.

https://reproducible-builds.org/

Then we have items like Reproducible Builds that enable you to confirm exactly what source codes an application is based on. Include complier.

http://researchcenter.paloaltonetworks.com/2015/09/novel-malware-xc...

Remember the Xcodeghost malware where the developers IDE was infected.

This is the interesting point about Reproducible builds is in a case like Xcodeghost you have the build list and you can rebuild and find out if someone was infected without having to know what the infection was.

The word proprietary is a problem as there is such thing as proprietary open source. This is where you only release the source code to your paying customers. This is Collabora custom patched version of Libreoffice.

The term closed source or open source has meanings. Proprietary can be used with either.

With the list of parts a program is built from it can be next to impossible to audit if you have a security problem this was showing with the openssl Heartbleed Bug there are still people using closed source programs that are effected by the Heartbleed bug. Openssl license did not forbid it from being linked into a closed source program.

The reality here you chose a closed source program they don't tell you what parts they used to make it you could be running open source code with known exploits. So there is a very important reason why you need to look what is inside a program.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: No Linux
by Alfman on Thu 16th Feb 2017 13:16 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No Linux"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Brendan,

Currently consumers are free to choose open source products (where nobody can be held accountable and any malicious attacker can easily obtain/modify the source to create a trojan) and are also free to choose proprietary products (where the manufacturer can be held accountable); and manufacturers are also free to provide open source and free to provide proprietary.

By insisting on open source you remove the ability to choose for both consumers and manufacturers; and destroy freedom.


Freedom is, and has always been, relative. One person's freedom from oppression necessarily opposes another person's freedom to be oppressive. Some goes with corporations. A person's freedom to live without pollution opposes corporate freedom to pollute the environment. Employee freedoms to make their own healthcare decisions directly opposes employer freedoms to decide what providers and services are covered (extremely pertinent in the US right now).


This relativity is why both political parties claim to be the one for freedom at the same time, because in a legitimate sense they all want "freedom". It's just a matter of which freedoms are more important to them.

Personally, I will side with individual freedoms over corporate and government power almost every time. This puts me at odds with many republicans who want freedom from government power but often implicitly or explicitly want to strengthen corporate power. They'll say things like "government regulating us is wrong because it takes away our freedoms", which is absolutely true. And yet at the same time they overlook how corporations with unchecked power have taken away individual freedoms, which I value more than corporate freedoms.

That's why freedom is such a complicated issue.

Edited 2017-02-16 13:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No Linux
by kurkosdr on Wed 15th Feb 2017 20:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No Linux"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

It's not a Linux problem, it's a proprietary software problem.


Nope, that's inaccurate if not completely wrong. A breakage caused by an unstable ABI is a breakage, and someone will have to spend programmer man-hours to fix it. Unless "the community" has provided a contractual obligation to fix any breakage in any GLPed driver caused by the unstable ABI in such and such amount of time, it is still a breakage bound to cause labour cost to the vendor (if the community doesn't fix it like in the case if Microsoft contributions).


So, it's not a proprietary software problem, it's an unstable ABI problem (aka Linux problem).

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No Linux
by tidux on Wed 15th Feb 2017 22:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Linux"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

> Unless "the community" has provided a contractual obligation to fix any breakage in any GLPed driver caused by the unstable ABI in such and such amount of time

That's literally how the release process works for in-tree drivers, you idiot. Any ABI/API change requires ALL impacted drivers to be updated before it hits a released kernel.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: No Linux
by Alfman on Thu 16th Feb 2017 00:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No Linux"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

So, it's not a proprietary software problem, it's an unstable ABI problem (aka Linux problem).


It's actually both, they're not exclusive. I do agree the non-stable ABI causes problems, but the biggest impediment for alt-os on mobiles has always been the lack of source code for hardware.

When does access to the source code stop being a necessity to protect your freedom and how does it differ from the previous step? (when it comes to protecting your freedom) Explain.


Think about this pragmatically, source code gives you the ultimate freedom to update/fix/re-purpose it as you like in whatever OS you like. Without source code, you are stuck. It's not just linux or alt-os either, there are times I've had to replace perfectly good hardware because proprietary windows drivers were incompatible with the new OS and I did not have the source code to fix it.

While I'm perfectly aware most users don't have the expertise to use source code themselves, for every developer tackling the problem there are likely thousands of users experiencing the same problem, so there's a huge benefit to having the source code. Being dependent on a single proprietary source can be bad for users' interests, especially in an industry notorious for sell-and-forget tactics.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: No Linux
by kurkosdr on Thu 16th Feb 2017 09:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: No Linux"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11


Think about this pragmatically, source code gives you the ultimate freedom to update/fix/re-purpose it as you like in whatever OS you like. Without source code, you are stuck. It's not just linux or alt-os either, there are times I've had to replace perfectly good hardware because proprietary windows drivers were incompatible with the new OS and I did not have the source code to fix it.


That's a convenience you are asking for, not a freedom, and not being provided with that convenience is certainly not "fascism".

Edited 2017-02-16 09:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: No Linux
by Alfman on Thu 16th Feb 2017 13:26 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: No Linux"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kurkosdr,

That's a convenience you are asking for, not a freedom, and not being provided with that convenience is certainly not "fascism".


Sorry, but that's wrong. If you want to say that we aren't entitled to any open source drivers, then that's one thing. But it's not merely a "convenience", not having source code undeniably limits what can be done by developers who would otherwise be able to do them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: No Linux
by kurkosdr on Thu 16th Feb 2017 14:22 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: No Linux"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

kurkosdr,

Sorry, but that's wrong. If you want to say that we aren't entitled to any open source drivers, then that's one thing. But it's not merely a "convenience", not having source code undeniably limits what can be done by developers who would otherwise be able to do them.


Nope. It only "undeniably limits what can be done by developers who would otherwise be able to do them" if you don't want to learn assembly. Otherwise, we wouldn't have so many ROM mods done by fans (who obviously do not have access to the source code). Or PC games that have been unofficially upgraded several times by modifying the exe (such as IP Lounge having significantly modified and upgraded Need For Speed: High Stakes, a video game)

Again, you are asking for a convenience. Demanding to modify code in a high-level representation is a convenience, not a basic freedom.

Of course, what exactly is considered high-level enough to classify as source code (and hence not violate your freedoms) is not really defined. But you are welcome to amuse us by providing a definition. BTW my "preferred form of the work for making modifications" (aka FSF's definition of source code) is MC68K assembly with some macros, where the complexity of macros can be really small or almost C-like (not really, I am just introducing the thought experiment). Is this source code? Who knows.


If Stallman had spent half the time he spent writing the GNU manifesto in learning assembly to fix that broken printer driver, we 'd have been spared a quasi-religious movement that is half of the time an anti-copyright organization in denial (because they don't just want to modify the source for themselves, they want to be able to stamp out copies of even the original source-code bits for everyone) and the other half time glorifying the source and elevating to a much higher standard than it really is: a technical instrument that simply adds lot of convenience. Not a right. Not a path to freedom.

Edited 2017-02-16 14:34 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: No Linux
by Lobotomik on Thu 16th Feb 2017 09:02 UTC in reply to "RE: No Linux"
Lobotomik Member since:
2006-01-03

It is preposterous to think that a starting-from-zero OS has any chance to be as powerful and bug free as something that has received the uncountable man-hours as Linux. IPC, networking, memory management, multitasking, multicore scalability, fault-tolerance, drivers... There are hundreds of areas where tons of work have been poured; the smallest of them has tens of people working on it and bickering for years to iron out the smallest details.

The value of Linux if you count all those man-hours, even at cleaning-person rates, is astronomical. Replicating it requires a gigantic cash investment, and with fewer eyes watching over, with the near certainty of making extremely expensive mistakes. It is just not realistic to pretend to replicate all that work alone. Even Apple went out and grabbed the Mach kernel and BSD unix to build on.

Now, if it is the (turbulently) flowing ABI that bothers them, Google are perfectly free to branch Linux at any release and continue developing theirs in however way they want, as long as they keep the code available under the GPL license. They would start with something that was already working very well, and where tons of expertise are already available. So why don't they do it? Because even that is not practical. Too much collaboration is pouring in to give that up.

I'd be very surprised if they dropped the Linux kernel at any time. Java, Dart, may come and Go.

Reply Score: 3

Mojo != Xojo
by allanregistos on Thu 16th Feb 2017 01:47 UTC
allanregistos
Member since:
2011-02-10

Interestingly, Mojo is almost equal to Xojo, a BASIC based language that is cross platform, formerly RealBASIC.

Reply Score: 2